iSixSigma

Six Sigma added value?

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Six Sigma added value?

Viewing 38 posts - 1 through 38 (of 38 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #35240

    Quality Witch
    Participant

    Dear all,
    I have a basic question about Six Sigma and I’d like to hear your opinion please. I’m a certified DMAIC BB and also had training in DFSS.I work for a small company (< 100 employees). Six Sigma has been imposed on us from the mother company, and they insist we do a certain number of projects per year.So far, the results of the projects are quite poor.
    If I understand well, both DMAIC and DFSS are about translating practical problems into statistical problems. The added value of SS is the statistical analysis of data, to enable management to make data-driven decisions. So far so good.
    However, I’ve noticed that we systematically use only a part of the toolset that Six Sigma offers. The ones we don’t use are the ‘real’ statistical tools, like hypothesis testing, Anova, DOE… Reasons for this: the tools often don’t apply (transactional processes); or the effort of gathering and analysing data doesn’t counterbalance the possible results. It’s much cheaper and/or faster for us to make an opinion-based decision and changing it back if it turns out to be wrong, than to try and squeeze the necessary data from our systems.
    So I’ve come up with to the following reasoning:
    A. Statistics are the added value of Six Sigma (compared to other quality methods).B. We hardly use statistics. A+B=C: Six Sigma offers us very little added value.D. Let’s discontinue the investment in Six Sigma and search for something that’s more useful to us.
    Would you agree with this reasoning, or am I missing something? Thanks in advance for your opinion.
    Best regards,
    The Quality Witch

    0
    #98587

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Dear Witch
    Been there and still there to a large extent and after much soul searching like you’re doing this is where I currently am.
    It’s counterproductive to fight your mother company. It’s counterproductive to do ‘Six Sigma’ in it’s strictest sense in your current situation so what do you do.
    1) Be creative about what you call Six Sigma. You would not be the first and you are right that without statistics SS is much weakened. HOWEVER…..Data and Statistics are not the same thing. If you measure a process, Improve it and then show your measurement has made that improvement you have done a SS project. It’s fairly simple to fit process maps, C&E, MSA,FMEA, Improvements and Control plans into that framework….Why? Because that’s what you do conceptually everyu time you make a decision. All you have to do is formally write it down.
    I used to question why Six Sigma was now such a big issue when in reality I had been doing 90% of it for the last 10 years. I realized that it’s a question of perspective. Your company is not asking you to do something new they are just asking you to define and record what you have always done in a different way.
    In summary of part one:-
    Don’t confuse the use of data which is essential with the use of statistics which is a nice to have.
    Six Sigma isn’t extra work it’s the same work defined, recorded and presented in a particular way.
    Part 2 in a seperate post
    Mia

    0
    #98590

    KBailey
    Participant

    I’m confused. What tools don’t apply to transactional processes?
    It’s tough to apply many of the statistical tools when the processes are out of control. Sometimes the payback isn’t there, if the process isn’t performed enough times to get a big return. However, the tools can still be of value in transactional processes once you correctly define the process and problems.
    I could elaborate, but without a better idea of the situation and types of processes, it might not be too helpful.

    0
    #98597

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Hi Witch…
    Here’s the harder part…..part 2
    Okay so you can now do some quick hit, defined, recorded etc ‘Six Sigma’ Projects but…..they don’t show huge returns and you would have probably done that anyway. Look for things where you make a small improvement in something that you do all the time. You will be able to get data quickly make changes quickly and improve quickly.  Don’t use a lack of data as an excuse not to do a project – pass the buck.
    The cost of getting the data should be accounted for in your project. If that outweighs the value of the project then whoever proposed the project is gong to have to get the data another way if they want their project to go ahead. That comes down to your business objectives and make sit a business decision which takes it almost out of Six Sigma territory.
    Think about it. If that data is so essential to running your business not only is it worth having but it’s worth getting as easily as possible. If it really does matter how quickly a call centre operator answers a phone then measure it automatically. If it doesn’t really matter then don’t measure it.
    Hopefully you will eentually have enough valuable data to examine statistically and can make some major improvements to your operation.
    None of what you say is a failing of Six Sigma it’s a failing of how it is implemented. How one can use it very much depends upon the ‘data maturity’ of the operation. I liken it to someone giving you a set of woodworking tools to make a chair. That’s fine if you have some pre-planed wood but if all you have is a tree it’s going to take a while to get around to the chair.
    Final points.
    Keep your use of Six Sigma in line with your state of data maturity and you’ll make some improvements without losing too much sleep. PLay the game as best you can.
    Define what very basic data you genuinely need and fight to get it automatically. ESSENTIAL DATA SHOULD BE ‘FREE’.
    Above all you need to think in terms of systems with inputs processes and outputs. You can measure the ins and outs once you’ve defined what the process is. If you don’t really understand and define the process you’ll struggle even to get to what the ins and outs are let alone measure them.
    Hope all that helps and glad to see I’m not the only SS practictioner who has lost sleep over this. I wish our business leaders and consultants would give it a little more thought and support too.
    Mia
     
     
     
     

    0
    #98606

    Quality Witch
    Participant

    Dear Mia,
    Thanks for your observations. They’re very accurate and to-the-point. Or maybe that’s because your suggestions are more or less what I already had in mind. I feel more confident now about the road I’m taking.
    I agree that the bottom line is to get results and not to worry too much about the methodology. I’ll try and talk that idea into the head of our master BB, he likes to do things by the book…
    Thanks!
    The Quality Witch
     
     

    0
    #98620

    Quality Witch
    Participant

    Hello kbailey,
    Thanks for your reply. Some elaboration. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the statistical tools are always useless for transactional processes, just that we, here, in our company, hardly ever use them.
    We specifically find DOE unsuitable for our projects. A DOE helps you find the optimum setting for a set of vital parameters. In our case, the optimum settings are often already known in advance, so why bother? Other parameters are directly related to humans, and not software tools or machines that you can adjust or even measure at will.
    A practical example: if one of the vital Xs is an employee’s training level (‘trained’ or ‘not trained’), then it’s obvious that the best setting is ‘trained’. Or what about ‘number of typos’? Obviously, the best setting equals zero.
    Our company relies very heavily on what we call ‘the human input’. Some years ago, a new boss tried to standardise quite a few of the procedures we use, to try and automate them, but it was a total disaster. Customer satisfaction plummeted, and we learned (the hard way) that our flexibility is one of our assets. Most of our processes are very flexible. We often do the same thing in many different ways, depending on what’s the best approach for our customer. This makes it very difficult for us to define suitable metrics for SS projects, because a metric often applies only to a part of the problem. Another result of our flexible processes is that we have a hard time finding vital Xs. The more roads, the more stones to trip over.
     
    The Quality Witch

    0
    #98634

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Hi Witch,
    Cautionary note on trying to change the views of those with a Six Sigma vested interest….I’ve found with Six Sigma that if you say it quickly enough it sounds perfectly feasible. I’ve run across that and it’s kind of a virtual brick wall. Make sure that you present a longer term plan for doing it properly and not just the pragmatic short cut.
    Reading the exchange with kbailey ………
    You say that you require (and have a strength in) flexibility and that you achieve the same end result in a variety of ways. That raises some questions with me:-
    1) One of those ways will be more cost effective that the others won’t it?
    2) If how the task is performed has an important effect on the ‘output’ then how you do the task is a Key Input Variable (assuming that you get paid for the end result and not the method)
    The ‘Process’ is delivering the output and the method is an input into that process even though that leaves the conceptual process as having no steps. Where’s the process in a soccer game? It’s all individual input and result….but teams still manage to improve.
    If flexibility is a requirement of your business then might want to consider standardization and automation of work practices in comparison to a soccer team. They are all highly trained team members but there is no fixed process that results in a controlled output. Rather they play based on probability. They do study ‘data’ (the abilities of the other teams and how they themselves perform). The better their understanding of the probability of something happening the more succesfull they are. Since probability is a statistical chance of something happening then it sounds like you have a very strong environment for the use of statistics. Your problem is how to quantify the ‘data’ that is at your fingertips.
    What you need to determine is what is ‘success’ because 6 sigma in ‘success’ is what you want to achieve. I think you have some projects there but maybe need to think conceptually at first in order to uncover them. If you can tie you ‘data’ to an output it doesn’t matter if that data is a ‘real’ unit. Statistics don’t directly win the game but the right ones are a good indicator of your chances of winning.
    Mia

    0
    #98635

    Ron
    Member

    You pose an interesting set of questions that leads me to ask where and by whom did you obtain your BB?
    By nature of the design of six sigma it is not a career our should you be considered a tool expert. A Six Sigma Blackbelt should be a passionate change agent that is tasked by senior mgrs with the responsibility of breakthrough change within an organization.
    You must have a six sigma infrastructure that consists of senior management selecting strategic business projects, once selected the BB is tasked with guiding a team to rapid change resulting in significant business improvement.
    I have seen many many consulting groups attempting to reduce the term BB to a series of courses and a test statingthat you are now a BB.
    This is not what a BB is. If you were by chance involved in such a system you have been short changed and should demand your money back.
    Also I have seen companys hire MBB who create a cirriculum and almost immediately crank out their version of a six sigma GB BB or even MBB then boot the original hired expert and call their program six sigma.
    I’m sure M Harry and other originators of this process are rolling over laughing or perhaps crying at the mess that is out there with people calling themselves a belt of some kind.

    0
    #98639

    SSNewby
    Member

    Quality Witch,
     
    Not worrying about the methodology throws into question the bottom line results that you got or think you got.    An on-target selection and execution of methodology is all that assures that you have optimized your results.    Instead of getting, and acting on, input from this forum after briefly describing your concerns, I’d suggest that you sit down with your MBB and reason through the process and your desired results.
     
    Is there any chance of your getting the input of your MBB and posting that in the forum in addition to your thoughts?  It might provide for a well informed, balanced and appropriate reader response.   
     SSNewby

    0
    #98641

    KBailey
    Participant

    Hey, Witch,
    I’m not trying to wash over the challenges, because they are very real. In some cases, there might not be a cost-effective solution available right now.
    With regard to what you said about DOE, optimum settings, and human parameters, I just want to encourage you to keep looking for opportunities. For training, look for ways to increase resolution or (preferably) turn it into a continuous measurement, as opposed to just trained/not trained.
    Even with human factors, keep working on ways to identify and measure the important characteristics. For example, assume you have a marketing process designed to turn members of the general public into “prospects” who contact your company, and then you have a sales process to turn prospects into customers. The CTQ’s for a “prospect” are 1) an unfulfilled need and 2) awareness of that need to motivate them to be interested in more info, and 3) awareness of your company as a possible solution to fulfill the need. The better you can measure the unfulfilled need and identify the members of the public who have that need, the better you can reach those people to generate awareness of the need (if it’s one they’re not aware of) and/or to generate awareness of your company as the solution.
    In the sales process, you measure (or re-measure) the unfulfilled need and the customer’s awareness of it. Too often, we rely on salespeople to do this intuitively. Good sales training programs are able to teach better measurement by training reps to notice and interpret things like verbal cues and body language. The other thing the sales process does is to take a prospect and “attach” the perception of your company as the best solution to fulfill their need.
    When the new boss tried to standardize and automate a few years ago, it was probably without properly identifying and measuring the important input factors and output “features.” Many people got caught in the dot.com bust because they underestimated peoples’ need and desire for human interaction. (A good sales rep makes us feel good about ourselves in a way that a computer screen doesn’t.)
    I don’t know if you’re having trouble with this, but it seems that the big problem some people have with transactional processes is seeing how to define them and break them down just as they would with a manufacturing process. The other difficulty I see is that as SS practitioners, we may tend to see the “customer” as an immutable requirement. The reality is that we spend lots of time and money “transforming” customers much as we transform materials or information.
    A side note on the sales and marketing comments: It’s often possible to sell something to someone who doesn’t have a real unfulfilled need. Some sales/marketing types try to create the perception of such a need where none exists. However, if the need isn’t real, the customer probably won’t be satisfied in the long run. Achieving customer satisfaction really starts with being able to sort out the people with a real, unfulfilled need for what you produce from the rest… just like sorting defective goods at the loading dock or on the assembly line.

    0
    #98644

    Q G Jinn
    Participant

    Many very good points have been made.  To add a couple of thoughts:
    Follow the DMAIC process — not the ‘Use every tool’ process. You are certainly correct that improvement of transactional, flexible processes do not use the same tools as ‘traditional’ SS (e.g., DOE optimization) but you should be using the same process of making sure your measures and metrics are good, that improvements achieve goals, and that controls are in place to hold the gains.
    Certainly, stat can be of help, but stat tools/methods should be an enabler, not a ‘required exercise’ if they don’t add value. It’s like taking a bunch of lumber, concrete, nails, screws, etc., and then using your hammer, drills, saws … everything in your tool box and, at the end of the day saying, “Where’s the house? Hey, this stuff doesn’t work!” You must have a plan, a blueprint — that works for you — and stick to it.
    Transactional process SS projects typically depend a great deal on the basic tools: process maps, C-E, FMEA, Ga R&R, basic data collection and analysis, trend charts, SPC, etc. and not so much on the more complex stat. This is very different from ‘traditional BB training’ which is based mostly on continuous data. You and your MBB may need to discuss this and, perhaps, do more study on transactional applications.
    And, Ron, you are correct, in a brief discussion with Mike Harry last year, he said (to paraphrase): there are many excellent applications of SS, some far beyond what he ever envisioned; other applications are awful, perhaps grossly damaging the concept due to misuse of the basic principles of DMAIC, statistics and even simple logic. Yep, laughing and crying.
    But then every initiative I’ve heard of has had it’s share of errors of every sort as well. So, now it’s SS’s turn.

    0
    #98685

    Quality Witch
    Participant

    Hello Ron And Qui-Gonn,
    My thoughts exactly. I don’t know what M Harry would do if he visited our company, laugh or cry. I do both, alternately.
    Thank you for sharing your ideas. It’s difficult to keep believing that you are going in the right direction if you keep bumping into walls. But from the replies I get to my message, I feel a lot more confident.
    Now I’ll do a personal SS project to ‘reduce bumping into walls’. [grin]
    The Quality Witch

    0
    #98697

    Quality Witch
    Participant

    Hi SSNewby,
    Unfortunately, we have a bit of a cultural problem here. For my MBB (and most of the decision makers in my company), it is absolutely taboo to discuss, question, let alone criticise something that (top) management imposes on you. They may have their personal opinion, but they will never express it.
    I appreciate that situation, but it’s not helping me. That’s why I came here for some confirmation or objections to my personal opinions.
    The Quality Witch
     

    0
    #98699

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Hi Quality Witch
    In your situation there’s a point to accept that is a useful point in situations to get progress. You may have the best answer in the world but the person who needs to hear it won’t accept it. If it was their idea you wouldn’t have a problem agreeing with them. Somehow you have to find the route that makes them think it was their idea without them realizing it…..then you can smile at yourself for being much smarter than they are. It may take some time and be frustrating but it’s possible to get there in the end.
    Be constructive, think critically but don’t criticize. Oh and have fun!!….
    Mia

    0
    #98706

    Dillon
    Participant

    Dear Quality Witch,
    I understand your problem.  The company I used to work for had many projects that were chosen poorly or had poor results (not what was expected).  I would agree that some of the six sigma tools are hard to apply in the transactional world – but I have seen them used (I was actually a particpant in a DOE designed to study a manual time card system).  I have seen SS used to improve the hiring process at a company and I have seen a DOE which used customer surveys as the response variable.  So there are ways to use the tools.
    My personal opinion of the SS methodology is that the DMAIC process helps drive consistency and lends structure to the problem solving process.  You don’t have to use all of the tools in the tool kit to fix every problem – you just need to pull out and use the ones that you do need.
    I would not abandon the Six Sigma process…just understand that it is a tool in your tool kit – it may not be the right tool to apply all the time (i.e. every problem does not need to end up as a project).
    Hope this helps.

    0
    #98708

    KBailey
    Participant

    Q, perhaps this analogy will help with the bumping into walls thing…
    There’s a time and place to tell the quarterback what play to call or to whom to throw the ball. However, once they make a decision and call a play, the thing to do is for everyone to line up and do their job. Good execution and teamwork can overcome a lot of “wrong” decisions. Without teamwork and execution, calling the right plays won’t help except with the occasional stroke of luck.
    People don’t listen to you just because you’re right, they listen to you because they trust you and respect your judgment.

    0
    #98725

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    QW
    I’m really disappointed in this thread.  I think there is a key thing that has been missed.
    You said:
      “Statistics are the added value of Six Sigma”
    This is absoloutely wrong.  For decades there have been an alphabet soup of (failed) quality programs and all of them used statistics.  Six Sigma introduces no new statistical tools.
    Six Sigma is about transforming the organization.  It’s about change.  Statistics are one of a whole basket of tools that are used to bring about that change.
    There are, however, two key things about the statistics that apparently they didn’t emphasize enough in your training:

    Make decisions based on data, not instinct
    Understand the credibility of the data
    Now in transactional applications, it often is difficult to come up with the data, and sometimes the statistical tools that are applicable are a little tougher to use than for a more “traditional” project.  Sometimes it really is better to short circuit the process a little.
    However, to judge when, you need to have experience.
    Let me suggest that on a couple of projects you force yourself to go the extra mile on getting the data, and come up with clear, defensible analyses for drawing your conclusions. Instead of viewing your storyboard as another pain in the neck exercise you have to do, use it as a tool to help clarify your own thinking.  If you can’t put the decision on your storyboard in a way that makes it obvious to everyone who sees it, then you haven’t investigated the problem deeply enough.
    I’ve often said on this forum that Six Sigma doesn’t give us license to leave common sense at the door.  But we have an obligation to educate ourselves sufficiently to make informed decisions, too.
    If you have a hard time figuring out how to get the data, or how to analyze the data, ask your master black belt.  That’s what (s)he is there for.  But invest the time for a couple of projects to improve your own expertise.
    –McD

    0
    #98732

    Diaconu
    Participant

    McD
    In contributing to this thread I hope I have done so with a lot of empirical experience and common sense. If you feel disappointed then I hope that you direct that comment towards the experts who help implement Six Sigma into a business. They have, in many cases, clearly failed to impress heavily enough upon the most senior people the need to retain their common sense about what they can expect to achieve.
    Where is the validated data that shows a black belt can save $1million a year in a business? Where is the validated evidence that everything can be achieved best via a Six Sigma project? Where is the validated evidence that the improvemnt in the businesses performance was actually due to Six Sigma and nothing else?
    You are absolutely right that Six Sigma is largely about understanding data, it’s validity and making decisions based on it. Can the consultants please make sure that they impress that upon our business leaders so that we can get a bit more common sense into how SS is perceived. I think for many of us disappointment is a two way street.
    Mia
     
     

    0
    #98734

    mman
    Participant

    Ron:you hit the target,just out-standing

    0
    #98804

    Quality Witch
    Participant

    Hi McD,
    Like you say, common sense. We have always used data to justify decisions, even before SS.
    And our project teams know exactly what kind of credible data we need, but it takes an IT or database expert to get it (if it exists at all), not an MBB.
    Quality Witch

    0
    #98805

    Quality Witch
    Participant

    Anecdote: one of the most successful SS projects in one of our subsidiaries yielded a hard saving of about 100,000 dollars.
    We BBs and GBs were very impressed with that. Wow! Great savings! And hard savings too!
    Quote Big Cheese from his ivory tower: “Didn’t you forget a zero?”
    *sigh*
    It’s a common joke now between SS project team members while estimating potential benefits: ‘Just put in a zero!’ (Rolling on the floor, laughing…)
    As for the validated evidence you’d like to see, Mia, let me know if you get it!
    However, I still firmly believe that SS can be successful, but only in the right circumstances.
    The Quality Witch

    0
    #98806

    Quality Witch
    Participant

    Hi Doug,
    Yes it helps, I just wish our SS management would see it this way too. For my MBB, it’s not a ‘real’ Six Sigma project if you don’t use the statistics…
    The Quality Witch

    0
    #98811

    SSNewby
    Member

    Q Witch,
    Re-read McD’s response to you.   It was well written and clear.  You seem to continue to miss the point.   SS is only as good as its capable practitioners and it appears that you have none in your corporation.    Maybe your questions should revolve around how best to get the expertise versus how best to bypass what little SS expertise you have.
    SSNewby

    0
    #98814

    aBBinMN
    Participant

    QW,
    It sounds like part of your “customer satisfaction” problem is really a problem of expectations.
    Potential project savings/benefits are largely a function of process volume, process cost, amount of waste in the process when you start out, and the complexity of the product/service required by customer. Just because someone saved a million dollars per project (or per BB/year) at one company doesn’t mean you should expect to save a million dollars per at another. That’s like thinking that just because juicers can get a cup of juice per fruit at a grapefruit orchard that they can get a cup of juice per fruit at orange and apple orchards, as well as at the strawberry and carrot farms.
    The people who are setting such ridiculous expectations need to either get a clue or get out of the SS consulting business. Specifically, they need to understand the limitations of extrapolation a lot better.
    That said, a disciplined, methodical SS culture is going to tend to deliver better, more predictable, sustainable results in the long-term than a disorganized undisciplined organization. It’s not the Six Sigma name that gets the benefits, it’s the discipline and the methodical application of the right tools to the right problems. There’s value in it, but people also need to understand what it is and what it isn’t, and have reasonable expectations, or they’ll be unhappy with the results.

    0
    #98831

    mman
    Participant

    I agree.Please let me simply add the following:We use the data to determine the vital vew factors that  are the root of the quality problem through  the Analyze  phase (DMAIC).   MMAN

    0
    #98848

    Quality Witch
    Participant

    Quote:”… capable practitioners …you have none in your corporation.”Thanks! ;-)
    Back to the essence. So McD says that statistics are not the added value of Six Sigma.
    Then what is?
    The Quality Witch

    0
    #98859

    SSNewby
    Member

    I’ll take that as a non-rhetorical question and try to give you my best answer.
    I think that Six Sigma is about organizational transformation, e.g., organizational leadership embracing commitment to continuous improvement and walking the talk, everyone speaking the same language, the allocation and assignment of full time problem solvers with strong statistical and analytical skills, selecting projects to work on based on positive impact to the organization, and creating an energized momentum that keeps the organization moving toward meeting its goals and objectives in a dynamic marketplace. 
     
    Six Sigma to me means positive and lasting change brought about by committed and dedicated change agents.  It is TQM inclusive of the process needed to truly realize the goals and objectives of TQM.
     
    And… if you have to become a zealot to awaken the organization to opportunity, to teach and train the uninformed, and then to lead the organization down the Six Sigma path, make the commitment and do it.   I’m a zealot and, like it or not, most of the folks posting in this forum are zealots – it’s one of the things that I like about it.  One thing that I agreed with Richard Schroeder about in his postings is the acceptance of risk inherent in stepping to the plate and putting your career on the line to do what you believe is best for the organization.   I think it’s safe to say that you and your coworkers are the only ones that can improve your organization and, while you get input from this forum, take it with a grain of salt – I’m reasonably certain it’s meant well, but we are all too distant from the reality of your workplace to give you much truly actionable insight.  
    However, most of us absolutely believe in the power of a well-implemented Six Sigma program.
     

    0
    #98881

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    I think SSNewby has it right – it’s all about organizational transformation.  But as a methodology, Six Sigma brings a number of things to the table which deliver value to the organization:

    It provides a complete methodology for change
    It provides a structure defining responsibilities
    It provides a large toolset – so large that the Black Belt is forced to think about the problem, rather than the tool
    It provides a focus on the customer
    It ensures clarity in decision making
    It forces decisions based on data
    Through the various belts, it provides incentives to participate
    These things taken together make it a very powerful tool for organizational transformation.  The value is in the transformation, Six Sigma provides a very good way to accomplish that transformation.
    –McD
     

    0
    #98882

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    I think SSNewby has it right – it’s all about organizational transformation.  But as a methodology, Six Sigma brings a number of things to the table which deliver value to the organization:

    It provides a complete methodology for change
    It provides a structure defining responsibilities
    It provides a large toolset – so large that the Black Belt is forced to think about the problem, rather than the tool
    It provides a focus on the customer
    It ensures clarity in decision making
    It forces decisions based on data
    Through the various belts, it provides incentives to participate
    These things taken together make it a very powerful tool for organizational transformation.  The value is in the transformation, Six Sigma provides a very good way to accomplish that transformation.
    –McD
     

    0
    #98932

    SSNewby
    Member

    Your input is one that I look forward to reading because it is balanced and thoughtful in addition to being knowledgeable.  Most in this forum are not comfortable identifying themselves.  Since you are, out of curiosity, which John J. McDonough are you?  I know of two notable academicians and at least one notable business executive named John J. McDonough.   
     

    0
    #98941

    John J. McDonough
    Participant

    SSNewby …
    Hardly notable.  McDonough is quite a common name, and it does seem like there are an awful bunch of them.  I wouldn’t call myself an academician, although I did teach at a local university for a short while.  In a previous life, some may have accused me of being an executive, but hardly notable.
    Some time back I googled my name and found lots and lots of namesakes from all sorts of fields.  While writing this I thought I would do that again, just to quote a statitstic on how well hidden I actually am.  I was pretty surprised to find the real me a half dozen times on the first two pages.  I guess my web visibility is increasing.
    I am a recently retired master black belt, toying with the idea of doing a little SS consulting.  I hang out here to keep the saw sharpened while I sort out what the practice should look like (DFSS project, of course http://www.is-sixsigma.com/index.shtml?ID=35).  I have enough hobby (http://www.amqrp.org/elmer160/) and public service (http://www.qsl.net/w8kea/ATVproject.html) projects going on that the consulting thing is going pretty slow.  The good news is that I’m OK with that … I can take my time and enjoy my participation here.
    My personal website (http://www.qsl.net/wb8rcr/) focuses a lot on my hobbies, but right now it has a bunch of broken links that I need to get after.
    I really enjoy Six Sigma, and I enjoy mentoring a great deal, so my participation here is an enjoyable thing.  It keeps the old gray matter exercised, and gives me some insight into what people’s pain points are.
    So yes, I guess I’m not afraid to admit who I am, even if I’m not a “notable” academician.
    –McD

    0
    #98968

    SSNewby
    Member

    McD,
    Sounds pretty notable to me.  I appreciate your experience and insights and like the fact that you help add a voice of capable and thoughtful consideration to the forum.  It is too easy, especially in the anonymity of this forum, for folks lacking fundamentals to jump in there and lead people astray.    Keep up the good work.  Thanks.
    SSNewby

    0
    #98973

    Quality Witch
    Participant

    Dear SSNewby,
    I haven’t found a way to send you a personal response to your posts, so I’ll have to do it in the ‘openness’ of this forum.
    I’ve been reading and re-reading your responses, because you obviously have experienced the benefits of Six Sigma and there should be some valuable information in your posts that may help me overcome my doubts and frustration. 
    Alas. Let me quote you:”zealots””strongly believe”and now”lead people astray”?
    Congratulations for standing up for your religion.
    But I lack the fundamentalism to be able to follow the path of the righteous without wavering.
    I’m a down-to-earth engineer. I was taught to question fundamental beliefs. I know that’s a shocking idea to you, being a zealot and all, so please forgive me for offending you.
    I shall now take my unworthy little self away from this forum.
     
    The Quality Witch

    0
    #98983

    SSNewby
    Member

    Dear QW,
    Whoa…. slow down a little.   You are sooooo sensitive.   I was not trying to suggest that you had said or done anything questionable or wrong.    I was saying that you can’t be successful with something like Six Sigma doing it half way.    As a fellow degreed engineer (but, granted, one that also has an MBA and a PhD in operations research – possibly making me little too esoteric at times), I think that I am also pragmatic and data driven.    But I am also driven make large changes to a large organization and to do it successfully and quickly.   As a result, I chose to be a zealot.  I have to be a zealot.  So, I am and will be a zealot.  However, it is not (exactly) blindly following the path, it has been more evaluating, seeking training, developing competency, and then committing to the path.  And, for my organization, a fortune 500 company, I get to lead us down this path and also determine other future intersecting paths.  It is a tremendous experience, one not without risk from both personal and organizational standpoints, but one that I am certain will have many positive returns.
    Question fundamental beliefs, but when the organizational train leaves the station, it’s best to be on it.  And if you get the chance to help lay the tracks, select the engines, make the schedules, start the engines, and make the whistle go “Whooo, whooo”, take it.  It beats being someone else’s passenger.
    I don’t know that I’d read and re-read anyone’s responses on the forum looking for insight.  Take it for what it is and move on.  I was serious that you and your co-workers are the only ones that can improve your operation.  Continue to participate in the forum and ask good questions, but don’t drink the Kool-Aid.  Unless, of course, you are in my corporation in which you should not gulp the Kool-Aid, save some for others, there is plenty to go around…
    SSNewby

    0
    #99400

    Ty
    Member

    Six sigma, along with other techniques, are tools – just tools. Can you imagine tradespeople debating the relative value of a hammer versus a saw? It would be ridiculous. It is also ridiculous for those of us involved in CPI to debate whether six sigma or any other tool adds values. I think it is fair to say that they all do when applied to the right type of problem by the right type of person.
    I do not use a saw to solve every home improvement challenge I have but I don’t suggest that a saw is useless. Six sigma is the same. It offers a broad set of tools but those tools don’t apply to all problems. We shouldn’t try and we should not feel guilty about this. Nor however should we dismiss the tool as valueless.
    Our job is to make business work better. The tool we should use at any given time is a function of the problem and maturity of the process area wherein the problem lies. We should not and cannot stick to one tool as if it were some sort of religion.

    0
    #99413

    KBailey
    Participant

    Am I missing the boat on SS, or is it other people?
    To me, Six Sigma is:

    Basic problem-solving methodology
    Organizational discipline
    DMAIC is not really some special new technique. Basic problem-solving, from 1st grade: first you define the problem. That’s DM in DMAIC. Then you identify possible solutions. That’s the A. Then you choose and implement the best one. That’s I.
    The first part of organizational discipline is simply remembering and applying what you learned, the C. The practical definition of intelligence requires a change in behavior as proof of learning. In other words, the lack of discipline to apply the C in DMAIC is proof of a lack of organizational intelligence. The second part of organizational discipline is recognizing the limitations of intution, no matter how smart you think you are, and looking for good information in decision-making; dedicating some resources to proactively apply basic problem-solving techniques.
    Where do people get the idea that Six Sigma is a tool or a set of tools? Most of the tools have been around for years and have application outside of formal Six Sigma programs. When I hear someone say Six Sigma doesn’t fit their needs, I interpret it to mean one of two things:
    Either they’re so confident in their intuition – in their ability to make it up as they go – that they don’t see a need for basic problem solving technique; or they’ve acquired a very narrow view of Six Sigma and don’t see how to adapt it to their situation. Probably 95% of innovation is taking other peoples’ ideas and adapting them to your situation. Part of being a BB is to innovate in applying the right tools to the situation, adapting the tools when appropriate.

    0
    #99415

    Diaconu
    Participant

    Completely agree…
    See my new post 6s, DMAIC & Tools which I hope points to why the 6s part causes all the confusion. I hope that none of us have a problem with DMAIC and all have the common sense to pick the most appropriate tool for the job and can prioritze our work.
    The problems arise in the ‘cultural vehicle’ that is 6S not with its basic fundamentals.
    By the way I very much like that ‘practical definition of intelligence’
    Mia
     

    0
    #99634

    spike
    Member

    Regardless of your business type, whether manufacturing or transactional –
    Everything is a process.
    All processes have variation. 
    And all variation can be measured. (sometimes need to be creative about how)
    Therefore, any process can be baselined, improved, and statistically verified.
    I know this is very simply stated, but it’s also very true.

    0
Viewing 38 posts - 1 through 38 (of 38 total)

The forum ‘General’ is closed to new topics and replies.